Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Dwight Morrow Baseball Makes Steady Progress

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Dwight Morrow Baseball Makes Steady Progress

Article excerpt

ENGLEWOOD -- Long after the Dumont bus had departed Thursday, a comfortable 8-0 victory to ride home on, Dwight Morrow baseball coach Mario Lugones Jr. was still talking to his team in the outfield.

He wasn't animated. He wasn't yelling. He was merely going over each of the mistakes the Maroon Raiders had made in the game.

"I try to go over it one time and tell them when they did wrong, because I think the biggest thing missing here is baseball savvy," Lugones said. "I think the savvy hasn't been here."

The Maroon Raiders are 7-11 heading into today's game with Pascack Hills, weather permitting. While that may not sound like much, seven wins is already an improvement over last season.

"I was trying to count their wins on different websites the last few years and I think it's been less than 10 wins in five years," Lugones said. "Last year, they won five. We have already passed that, so that's a positive."

Some people can look at the baseball field tucked in behind Dwight Morrow High School and see what's not there. There's no press box. There aren't a lot of bleachers. There's no public address announcer. The grass inside the infield is multiple shades of green.

Lugones, in his first year, sees what is there. The former assistant coach at Bergen Catholic and Paramus Catholic knew what he was walking into when he accepted the job. He knew expectations were going to be low.

What he didn't expect to find was the talent at his disposal, but it's raw like a winter storm.

Freshman infielder Jonathan Taylor already has been recognized as one of the top young players in New Jersey. He had one of the Maroon Raiders' two hits against Dumont.

Junior catcher David Veras is physically imposing. Lugones said Veras is 6 feet 4, 210 pounds. He's got all the tools to be special, a rocket arm and a good hitting stroke.

But savvy doesn't just show up. It comes with experience.

"We have lost a lot of close games, which I just think is the losing culture that has been here," said Lugones, 34. "Most of my speeches are confidence builders. I tell them, 'Hey, you have to believe in yourself,' because we have [talent]. …

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